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Hall timeline a guess, not his impact

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on November 14, 2011 – 10:44 am

This is a tough day at Paul Brown Stadium.

With the Bengals expected to put cornerback Leon Hall on injured reserve as early as Monday, it hits this team right where it lives.

Drawing on past experiences with torn Achilles, Hall could be on the field at the start of the next training camp with limited activity during the spring. The worst case scenario is that he would have to begin the season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and miss the first six weeks.

It’s all speculation of course because it depends on the player. When tight end Reggie Kelly tore his Achilles in the first week of training camp at age 32 in 2009, the Bengals didn’t give him much chance to come back anywhere near his form. But he surprised them and was at training camp better than ever and held up all year.

It is one of the more challenging injuries from which to return, but with Hall not turning 27 until December and possessing a big-time work ethic, he’s a good guy to, as they say, put down your chip.

But still, this may be the one guy on the 53 that they couldn’t lose for the final seven games.

Sure, he had struggled in the Seattle game and Sunday was probably the worst he had looked in a big game in his five seasons here before he tore his Achilles. But if the Bengals have an indispensable player, it is Hall.

Just listen to safety Chris Crocker after Sunday’s game:

“It changes your mentality if you’re a coordinator because Leon allows us to do so many things,” Crocker said. “He allows us to play a lot of man-to-man, he allows us to do a lot of things in zone. He’s a big part of what we do. You lose him in a game, it’s big. And the guy never gets hurt? How do you plan for that?”

You don’t replace your best man-to-man corner in the middle of the season. Not even Bill Belichick does that. Not only that, you probably have to rip up a lot of what you do if you’re defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. This is going to be a long week on the defensive side of the ball.

Not only has Hall never missed a game, but go back to OTAs and everything else since he arrived here as the 18th pick in 2007, and you can count the number of practices he’s missed. He hadn’t missed a practice until the start of the 2010 training camp for a few days. The durability and reliability are major reasons the Bengals gave him that big extension just before the season.

Not only that, but Hall is a tremendous rallying figure in the locker room. A big-time leader in his position group and one of the all-time nice guys.

But, how many teams in the NFL can turn to a top 10 pick on their bench in Adam Jones? It’s huge. There’s no question that in his mind Jones is a starter and he has the physical talent of a starter. But no one knows when he‘ll be ready as he grapples with his own physical challenges. After not being able to play football for a year because of his neck injury, he’s finding out you need every muscle to turn and run with fast receivers like A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson and his hamstring is struggling to make the transition. And there is the rust factor.

Still, how many teams in the league have that guy on the bench in that premium of position at this point in the season? But, the Bengals are a long way from 2009 when Zimmer based his defense on two solid man-to-man corners. Getting Jones healthy would be a big help on that score. If dedication and enthusiasm counted, it would work out for everyone.
But there is no question that the Bengals are entering the stretch run in one of the toughest spots imaginable.

Leave it to Crocker: “Now,” he said, “this is where you find out where you are as a team.”


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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 23 Comments »


23 Responses to “Hall timeline a guess, not his impact”

  1. By mwindle1973 on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    Actually the worse case scenario is that he never plays football again. We can’t ignore that fact. It happens with an Achilles tear. Some guys come back without any noticeable loss of motion or ability at all. Some guys (Antwon Odom) never get back to where they were and their career fizzles out. It’s probably the most dreaded injury there is. I know Reggie Kelly came back, but in my opinion he was not the same player. Did not have the same lateral movement and got stood up more when pass blocking. Whether that was the Achilles or age or what is up for argument. But I think it’s fair to say that it’s a virtual career ender as often as someone recovers without missing anything. And for a CB it’s a bad injury. Only time will tell. Hopefully Hall can recover fully. The big question now, is what is the status of Adam Jones’ health? If he’s not healthy enough to start, we will be forced to play a whole different breed of D. Maybe I’m being too critical, but Jennings hasn’t looked good. And I’m guessing since Crocker has taken a lot of snaps at Nickel, when Jennings was to be the full-time Nickel CB, the coaches aren’t too impressed either. Zimmer has his work cut out for him. it will be interesting to see how he handles the loss.

  2. By mancat14 on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    No question that this is a bad loss. However, this is why they drafted Brandon Ghee: 6′ and 195 lbs with great speed. He has the size you want in your starting outside CB. Hopefully he has been injury free and working hard on his craft while on the practice squad. Bring him up. Jones, if healthy, will give you a lot of versatility in the slot and outside, as well as the return game while shaking off the rust. Jennings looks soft and needs to step it up. David Jones is not the answer. This year the Bengals have broken a lot of bad trends. This is something that would have given them an excuse to fold against the big dogs in our division in the past. It’s time to put this loss out of mind, strap it up, get focused, and bully the bullies. Losing that game was good for us, let’s circle the wagons and pay attention to the details and smoke these punks!

  3. By hobsonschoice1 on Nov 14, 2011 | Reply

    WINDY: Of course. As I said, it’s all speculation. But from what I understand, this is not a career-ender, and it wasn’t the Achilles’ that did in Odom. He got hit with all sorts of physical problems later that had nothing to do with it. Which is why I didn’t use him as an example. But he was back for the ’10 training camp after getting hurt Oct. 18, 2009.

  4. By bengalpirate on Nov 15, 2011 | Reply

    Me and my big mouth talking a couple of weeks ago about inevitable injuries and how important overall team depth is to winning in the NFL. Little did I realize that probably the most durable player for the Bengals would get bit by the injury bug this past week. OK, I know that I have no god-like powers to influence games or injuries, but it is more a thing of knowing how NFL seasons go, year in and year out. There is always one week where the injury bug bites hard on many teams and suddenly it is all about having good team depth and seasoned players to plug into the holes to keep momentum going towards the playoffs. This past week saw Leon Hall, Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel, Vick, Moreno and many more players come up with potential season ending or altering injuries. With the schedule the Bengals have the next 4 weeks, the challenge is to plug-in replacements and find a way to go 3-1, or at a minimum 2-2, so as to have a chance in the last 3 games to go 3-0 and finish the year 11-5 or 10-6. This year, I don’t think more than one AFC team will make it into the playoffs at 10-6, so 11-5 is needed to assure a playoff spot. PLAYOFFS??? I’m getting way ahead of myself here and like the team, should only focus on the Ravens and take it one game at a time. Who Dey!!!

  5. By mwindle1973 on Nov 15, 2011 | Reply

    @Hobson: I hear you on Odom. I guess I just associate him not returning to the NFL to the achilles and not his other injuries, which were minor and have healed. Of course he was shot in that home invasion and may still be recovering from those injuries. I seen a limited study that put the chance of an NFL player returning to the an NFL level from an achilles tear at 36%. They use power rankings such as stats. The higher your power ranking before injury the greater the chance of you returning to the NFL level. So the 53rd man on the roster essentially has zero chance of returning. A top NFL CB probably has an 80% or better chance. A middle of the road player probably has a 50/50 shot. But virtually all players in the study had lower power rankings for the years after the injury than before. After reading all this and considering his age, work ethic, and general durability. I think Hall has an extremely good chance of returning at NFL starting level as long as he has a good surgeon, and needs no synthetic grafts. But I still think we have to use a 1st round pick on a CB this year. But I already thought that before the injury.

  6. By mwindle1973 on Nov 15, 2011 | Reply

    @bengalpirate: I don’t think playoffs are out. And 10-6 might get you there. 11-5 is not out of the question. This team is not going to fold up. Now if Green is unable to play @ Baltimore this week, it’s going to be difficult. Also Adam Jones, he may not be ready until the following week. You want to win these first games with Pit & Balt but a split will do. A split with them and wins against Cle, Rams & Cards and we are 11-5. I forgot about Ghee being on the practice squad. I didn’t think we had a next man up. He didn’t play bad in the slot last year. If we could just get Jones back I think he could take Hall’s spot and do a good job. I hope Jennings proves me wrong, but we worries me starting. But we will have a game or so here for Zim to adjust, and it will tighten back up. This isn’t a season ender. It’s the worse person we could lose. We lost our best player on D, who plays the only position where we we lack depth. Everywhere else we have a decent answer to an injury. But I think this team is built the right way, we’ll be in contention until the end.

  7. By bengalpirate on Nov 16, 2011 | Reply

    WINDY, I agree that the playoffs are not out of the question, but I feel how the team does in the next 4 games sets the table for the last 3 games and the smell of playoff cuisine. If we go 3-1, or 2-2, then win the last 3 games, then I think we are a virtual lock for the playoffs. However, I’m not and I think the team is not satisfied with just making the playoffs, we need to win in the playoffs to satisfy my hunger. It is very possible that both wildcard teams could come out of the AFC North, but that is why 11-5 is important to me, as I believe that record can win the division. Bottom line though, is that the team must go 5-2 in the last 7 games to go 11-5 and once again that is where quality, overall team depth is important in closing out the seasons. Even in the last playoff years of 2005 and 2009, it is my opinion we didn’t finish the season healthy or with momentum. We have 7 games to prove what this team is made of. Who Dey!!!

  8. By mwindle1973 on Nov 17, 2011 | Reply

    @bengalpirate: Who Dey! I hear you on the team depth. I agree somewhat about the 11-5. That will probably get the division for us. But with every AFC team having 3 losses, and us playing 3 of those teams still (baltimore twice), I’m wondering if any team can finish better than 11-5. Good thing is we have 4 games left against teams that have 3 losses right now. My views come from Green’s injury. I think this game is a tough win, being at Baltimore, and being without Green, or at best having him in a limited fashion. And the first week adjusting to not having Hall. I’m pretty disappointed in Simpson & Caldwell. Their still just too inconsistent. And the running game is inconsistent too. These guys have got to put together 4 straight quarters of solid football before we get a playoff win. But that same fact allows hope that they can do just that. It seems pundits always make their predictions on stats, so here’s a stat for the week. Against the Ravens Lewis is 10-6 overall, 9-4 in the last 13 games, 3-1 in the last 4 games, and has won 3 in a row 3 seperate times. So if there’s one team we consistently beat even when we are underdogs, it is the Ravens.

  9. By mwindle1973 on Nov 17, 2011 | Reply

    Sounds like Hall just had a single tear and not a complete blowout, since he just had a simple reattchment No complications means no defects in the tendon. So that’s as good as news as you can get in this situation. I’m pretty curious to see how we approach this on D. Will we keep Clements where he is, and use someone else to fill Hall’s roll of RCB in the base and slot in the Nickel? Or will somebody play the outside all the time and the 3rd CB plays the slot? Or does Clements take over Hall’s role and someone else steps up into his? It seems we could move Clements into Hall’s role with minor adjustments. And Jennings or Jones could play on the left side. I’m real curious to see if Jones can play. Regardless of what happens in the game. We are 6-3, and play at home 4 times in the last 6 games. We play 3 teams with losing records still, 2 of them at home. We get the Texans at home with Leinart instead of Schaub at QB. We play better agianst the Steelers at Heinz field than at PBS. And we still get a shot at Baltimore at home. And that doesn’t mean it makes it easy. But it’s a pretty favorable schedule.

  10. By mwindle1973 on Nov 18, 2011 | Reply

    @Hobson: I was reading an article and got a little confused. You referenced a 13-7 game with the Ravens in 2009. Detailing how the Ravens were worried about Chris Henry beating them vertically allowing a pass to Caldwell, etc, etc. I assumed you must mean the last game of last season. But then I thought Chris Henry didn’t play in that game. So I went back and looked. I think you must mean Jerome Simpson, not Chris Henry. And 2010, not 2009. Small mistake but what it led me too was a hugely bad memory that I had forgotten. Or perhaps I had just blocked the trauma out! Do you remember what happened after Caldwell caught the ball at the 2, with seconds remaining on the clock, trailing by 6 pts? Carson missed Caldwell on the next play. Pass was too high and it caused the catch to be contested, Caldwell couldn’t catch it. On the next play Palmer had Peerman in the left side of the endzone all by himself, with time expired. In his last throw as a Cincinnati Bengal, he heaved a 5 yard throw about 5 feet over Peerman’s head. Seems so long ago.

  11. By mwindle1973 on Nov 20, 2011 | Reply

    Joe Theisman & Matt Millen argue the Zimmer-Flacco matchup as their basis for picking the Bengals to win. THey added they don’t buy the idea that the Ravens play bad against bad teams and great against good teams. They think the Ravens are just inconsistent. I have a thought here, isn’t a lot of it that Flacco is incosistent. The media let one game in Pit change his status. Let’s look at his stats for some reality. He’s posting career lows with a completions @54.8%, avg yds p/attempt @6.4 & QB rating @75.6. He also has 12 TO’s (7 ints, 9 fumbles, 5 lost) more than we do as a team. There’s only one stat left, and 10 TDs is average. I think the key to the game is getting pressure with front 4. With STs being a close second. We have to keep the field position advantage. We had it for 8 straight games. Never heard yet, but I beleive Pit snapped that streak.

  12. By bengalpirate on Nov 20, 2011 | Reply

    According to NFL.com: “•Breer: Bengals won’t trouble motivated Ravens” and Albert Breer himself is predicting a 24-10 Ravens victory. Even’t after a 6-3 record so far this season and several victories on the road in tough stadia, are we now just troublesome gnats to be swatted away, or devoured by the “motivated” Ravens??? I hope the team can prove the “experts” wrong. Who Dey!!!

  13. By mwindle1973 on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    I’m never happy with a loss. But I’m trying to keep this in prospective. We are continuing to improve as an team. We get better each week. Particularly on offense. The Browns can never be taken lightly, but I think the last 4 weeks we have played increasingly physical teams (Sea, Ten, Pit, Bal), and I think we are tougher now because of it. We still sit in the #6 seed in the playoff pic. With Den, Ten, NY, Buf all at 5-5 below us. Oak @ 6-4 & Hou @ 7-3, along with the 5-5 teams have multiple games against each other. If you look at each teams schedules (Buf has to play every other 5-5 team for example), it’s unlikely any of the 5-5 teams finish better than 9-7. It could happen but the schedules are very unfavorable. In short I think you can see that based on current record, and remaining schedule that the two wildcard temas could come from the AFC North. In fact that may be the most likely scenario at this point. What do we have to do? Finish 10-6 or better. So win the 3 games left against losing teams (Cle, StL, Ari). And then take at least 1 from (Pit, Hou, Bal). Easier said than done. But if we can’t take 4 out of 6 on that schedule, we probably aren’t ready to be a playoff team yet.

  14. By mwindle1973 on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    Hobs, I think you have a point in your article about the playoff picture teams remaining SOS. But it doesn’t look at who has to play who. A lot of those 5-5 teams play each other, and play Oak & Hou. And I don’t expect Houston’s run and D to go away. But I don’t expect Leinart will be contributin much. He may even be a liability as he has been at past points in his career. We have as good a shot as any. And to boot I have a suspicion that we are a better team than those 5-5 teams.

  15. By jamison007 on Nov 21, 2011 | Reply

    @BengalNation-I will see you at PBS this Sunday. I plan on showing PBS how to become the 12th man in the game! I am SO DISSAPOINTED to see half the stadium waiving those ugly yellow rags at PBS…get a grip Cincy Fans!!! Living true to my word to the team, I will run my PBS 10K on Thursday and be back in Cincy to get tee’d up for the Browns. Fellow Fans – our team needs us this weekend…they need us to be so pumped and so psyched that we give them the emotion and intensity to completely shut down the Browns and send our team off to stinky Pitt with some mojo and an attitude! @Bengals-I am flying in from Texas, my Pops is flying in from San Diego…this is our Turkey Day – its time to get back to the W !!!!!

  16. By bengalpirate on Nov 22, 2011 | Reply

    WINDY, I couldn’t agree more with you, that if we can’t win at least 4 out 6 of the last 6 games, then we are not ready and do not deserve to make it into the playoffs. My challenge to the team is: Have you got what it takes to move to the next level, or are you just an ordinary team? Focus, concentration and intensity!!! Who Dey!!!

  17. By mwindle1973 on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    @jamison: Good luck with your 10K. I’ll be at the game this week as well. Hopefully we beat the Ravens up enough that the 49ers can take one from them tonight. Then a win this weekend would top it off nicely!

  18. By mwindle1973 on Nov 23, 2011 | Reply

    @benalpirate: This won’t be an easy win, but this is exactly the kind of game we have grind out if we are going to make it. The Browns have a great D, but the D is going to have a chance to regroup and tighten up. They’ll need to keep continuing to get better in coverage without Hall. I don’t know how much healthier Adam Jones is going to be in the next few weeks. And it’s possible he may just keep tweaking the groin all season. But his technique and instinct should tighten up a little each game. If he could only get healthy, could you imagine him flying around the field? Still we have some work to do. The whole secondary played sub-par, and they have to clean it up for us to make it. I think they can pull it together. And the offense is making big strides each week. I think Green being out has forced others to grow in their rolls, and will only help once he returns.

  19. By jamison007 on Nov 26, 2011 | Reply

    @mwindle,aka “Windy” – thanks for the well wishes on the 102nd Annual Cinci Turkey Trot. Well, it wasn’t my prettiest run, but I ran the whole thing in under an hour. I am now going to set a more aggressive goal, but at least I met my goal this year! Thanks to the inspiration that our Bengals gave me, I am proud to say that ‘yes, being an inspired fan does do something good for us’…it pushed me to get in shape as if I was working out to try out for the Bengals. Call me a “Shmitty” or whatever you want, but I got in shape this year, flew into Cinci from Texas, ran the 10k, drove through Ohio to visit my Grandma and family and will be heading back to Cinci to yell my brains out for our boys! We need this win like none other and I intend to join you Windy with my Pops at side pumping up BengalNation to be louder than ever before! WHO DEY BABY, its time to roll the Browns over and stick a fork in em’ !!!!

  20. By bengalpirate on Nov 28, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Agent 007, :-) I’m glad to hear you made it through the 10K and we really needed every loud voice possible at the stadium yesterday. It seems like the crowd didn’t get loud until the 4th quarter. We really need bigger crowds that can generate some 12th man type noise, if we hope to win our last 3 home games. Thanks for being there to support the team and hope you make it back to a game soon. Now I’m hoping to use you as an example to get myself in shape for next year’s 10K run. I’ve tried staying in shape the last 2 or 3 years, but unfortunately my work and home life don’t always allow for that. Anyway, if I can live thru the Thanksgiving 10K next year, I will have attained my goal. Who Dey!!!

  21. By gievses on Nov 28, 2011 | Reply

    How much money do the Bengals need to spend on reuping there team before the end of the season to not have to pay the players union at the end of the year? I figure they have quite a bit since Carson is now off the books. Also, who do you think they will reup: Geno, Howard, Clements, Hall, Nelson, Cedric, etc. Thanks – Tim

  22. By tepidfan31 on Nov 29, 2011 | Reply

    Anyone else wonder about Rivers to the IR? After 4+ months a hand surgery should be healed. With the LBs they picked up was he considered to be behind them? Do they think that he is a semi-bust, since he has not been a No. 9 draft pick? The only thing that’s certain, is that they picked Rivers ahead of Mayo, who has simply been All Pro.

  23. By jamison007 on Nov 30, 2011 | Reply

    @bengalpirate: right on my friend, def encourage you to go for next 10K. I will be trying to better my last time. I tell ya, the first mile was long, the second mile the toughest and after the third the crowd of people cheering you on is just an awesome experience. Who Dey! Boy do I have a story for you about my game-time experience at PBS. Check the new blog as I plan to make a post there. Yes, our fans need to ‘Fan Up’ for sure.

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